ST. GEORGE – Postseason baseball. It truly is the ultimate equalizer and perfect situation for teams to forget about previous meetings. Despite winning the regular season series six games to one, Dixie State could not climb out of an early deficit Thursday in dropping a 12-3 decision to Grand Canyon during day one of the NCAA West Baseball Regionals at Bruce Hurst Field.
Facing its Pacific West Conference foe, the Red Storm fell behind 5-0 after starting pitcher Mike Dedrick allowed three hits, walked four – including three in a row with the bases loaded – and hit a batter in the GCU first inning. The senior right-hander only tallied a pair of outs before head coach Chris Pfatenhauer came out of the dugout with the early hook.
“Mike’s has been our guy,” Pfatenhauer said. “That was as uncharacteristic as I have ever seen him, but it is all hands on deck and we felt comfortable making the change.”
Kody Christoffersen filled 4.1 innings in relief of Dedrick and struck out three.
Offensively, the Red Storm never mustered a substantial rally to pull within reasonable striking distance.
“The way we play the game offensively, we’re not very good at it when we are down five runs,” Pfatenhauer added.
Kris Kaplan doubled in the second and scored on a Mitch Manning grounder to second base. Manning and Cedric Johnson each had two hits while Yuto Kata added an RBI sacrifice fly.
Grand Canyon’s freshman hurler Andrew Naderer posted a quality start – two runs on five hits over six innings while fanning nine. The Lopes rode the nine-game winner to improve to 35-16 on the year. Chris Lindmark had three hits including his first home run en route to 13 GCU hits.
Dixie State (32-16) faces elimination Friday at 3 p.m. against the defending region champions from Chico State. The Wildcats defeated top-seeded Cal State Monterey Bay, 14-3 earlier Friday.
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